A large SUV drove on the pedestrian path along Lake Calhoun, hitting a woman on an afternoon jog and sending startled others jumping to safety before the vehicle eventually stopped.
A Park and Recreation Board spokeswoman said the 65-year-old driver was dealing with a medical emergency Monday, when the vehicle somehow rolled onto the 3.1-mile path and drove on the blacktop surface that circles the largest in the city’s Chain of Lakes.
Police identified the driver as Rebecca A. Averill, of Tracy, Minn. Averill was taken to Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina for medical attention. There was no further word on the nature of her medical incident or her condition. The 22-year-old jogger suffered broken bones and other injuries, a Park Board spokeswoman said.
Molly Raske, a daily visitor to Lake Calhoun, said she and a friend were walking south near the northwest corner of the lake shortly after 3 p.m., when “a white, large SUV” moved ever closer toward her and others.
“The people in front of me walking a dog jumped to the side,” Raske said. “We were the lucky ones to see her coming at us. ... Everybody jumped out of the way in front of her because they’re thinking, ‘My gosh, this woman is not stopping.’ ”
Tyler Herman said he was in a vehicle on the parkway and saw the SUV “going down the path” at a pretty fair speed while “a runner was chasing and trying to stop her.” At one point, Herman said, he saw a “lady with her stroller jump out of the way.”
Herman, who shot video of the moving SUV with his cellphone, said the driver “was very responsive as far as braking and going around bends in the path.”
The driver soon stopped, and “she looked calm,” Raske said. “A woman who got her to stop chatted with her. It was amicable.”
Moments earlier, the jogger was hit from behind and was dragged at the southwest corner of the lake near the volleyball area, police said.
Fire personnel tended to her spine and put on a stabilizing collar before loading her into an ambulance, a Fire Department incident report read.
Park Board spokeswoman Robin Smothers said that the jogger was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center with “broken bones and abrasions but no life-threatening injuries.” Police declined to disclose the jogger’s name.
Raske said the SUV was moving “very slow, in my mind, like someone who had gotten on [the path] and was confused. ... I’m on that path all the time, and I’m really curious how that happened.”